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The chromaticism of the introduction, one wilting forlorn bar succeeding the other, puts one in mind of the heady chromaticism of the Rückert setting Dass sie hier gewesen; unfulfilled longing is what they have in common. There is also a comparison to be made with the neighbouring work in the Deutsch catalogue, An die untergehende Sonne, which also was first sketched in July 1816 and where the sequences in the introduction also move ever downwards. In that work it is the sun which sinks to the horizon; in Das Heimweh it is the traveller who looks longingly towards his home land on the other side of it. The descending pattern of the introduction is mirrored by the vocal line which manages to depict both sadness and passionate eloquence; the latter is achieved by the rhythm's departure from the bereft quavers of 'Oft in einsam stillen Stunden' ('Hab' ich ein Gefühl empfunden' suddenly takes on an quasi-operatic sweep) as well as the demandingly high tessitura ('hoch hinauf in bess're Sterne' indeed) which ensures that the voice is at full stretch. There is a wail in this music utterly appropriate to the feeling it describes.
Schubert wrote out only one verse and then added repeat marks. When this song received its first publication in 1887 in Volume VII of the Peters Edition, the editor Max Friedländer commissioned two extra verses from Max Kalbeck. Eight years later the editor of the Gesamtausgabe Eusebius Mandyczewski took the trouble to track down the original poem, and on this recording we perform three of the six verses printed there.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993
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